mo·​dal·​i·​ty | \mō-ˈda-lə-tē \
plural modalities

Definition of modality 

1a : the quality or state of being modal

b : a modal quality or attribute : form

2 : the classification of logical propositions (see proposition sense 1) according to their asserting or denying the possibility, impossibility, contingency, or necessity of their content

3 : one of the main avenues of sensation (such as vision)

4 : a usually physical therapeutic agency

Examples of modality in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Some have long histories as healing modalities over multiple cultures and thousands of years — which gives them a veneer of legitimacy. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Adaptogenic dusts, oils, and pills have a veneer of science, but there’s not much evidence to back them up.," 2 Nov. 2018 For instance, where simple barriers fail, more complex deterrents that engage multiple sensory modalities—such as a lock that also incorporates a frightening noise—may suffice. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Humans Created the Ultimate Superpests," 9 July 2018 So instead of fighting these new modalities, the ride-hailing giants bought them out. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Lyft’s Big Bike Share Buy Is About Ruling the Streets," 2 July 2018 This is not unlike many other self-improvement modalities — on the surface, this sounds a lot like run-of-the-mill group therapy. Amelia Harnish,, ""At This Point We Are In Despair": One Woman's Quest To Bring Her Brother Home From NXIVM," 29 June 2018 With gene therapy surfacing as perhaps the most imminent frontier, working inside the double helixes could render many of our medical modalities laughable. Katie Kosma, Longreads, "Gene Therapy: God Discusses Its Future Possibilities," 6 July 2018 The reality is, superhero examples can be pretty seamlessly incorporated into so many different traditional therapy modalities, including CBT, ACT, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Janina Scarlet, SELF, "WTF Is Superhero Therapy, and Should You Try It?," 19 June 2018 Doulas work on behalf of the mother and are trained to not adhere to any method or modality of care. Danielle Jackson, Longreads, "A Frustrating Year of Reporting on Black Maternal Health," 14 June 2018 Professional modalities have helped hundreds of thousands of us get relief from impossible burdens., "Ashley Judd, #MeToo Survivor: How I Healed, and How You Can Too," 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'modality.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of modality

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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The first known use of modality was in 1545

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More Definitions for modality


mo·​dal·​i·​ty | \mō-ˈdal-ət-ē \
plural modalities

Medical Definition of modality 

1 : one of the main avenues of sensation (as vision)

2a : a usually physical therapeutic agency

b : an apparatus for applying a modality

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More from Merriam-Webster on modality

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with modality

Britannica English: Translation of modality for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about modality

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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